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The Impossible Goals: How to Achieve It

Tired of not achieving your goals? Our Risers’ ambassador, Izlyn, breaks it down for you!

As we inch closer to a new year, we edge nearer to a new beginning. With the country gradually loosening restrictions, it’s safe to hope 2022 won’t be as bleak as this year that we’ve heartily trudged through. And with that hope, we carry infinite possibilities into the new year. Yes, that includes the possibility for you to successfully achieve those New Year resolutions that’ve been collecting dust on your wall or in your notebooks. 

Chances are, most, if not all the resolutions below will seem familiar to you. If you’ve been looking for that push in the right direction, continue reading to find effective tips I’ve put together to help you accomplish some of the most popular resolutions!

#1. Losing weight

 

This is probably the most famous resolution, despite being perceived as the least achievable. Many times, we fail at this because we tend to associate getting fit with something difficult. Consequently, as with many other things we find difficult (yes, I’m talking about those piling assignments), we procrastinate doing it until we’ve suddenly arrived at the start of another year.

Well, I’m here to tell you that getting fit isn’t difficult if you don’t make it so. When we think eating healthy, we think it involves switching up our entire dietary lifestyle, which is completely irrational. Then, we get overwhelmed by our current food choices and decide it’s basically impossible. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can start by switching up minor things in your diet like switching out your chicken thighs with chicken breasts which have lower calories and fats but higher protein. Similarly, rice substitutes like quinoa are gluten-free, lower in calories, and much more nutritious. If you’re a sweet tooth, switching out ice cream with lower-fat alternatives like gelato or vegan ice cream can be a big game changer as well. Although these changes seem small, it can amount to a large reduction in calorie intake if followed through for a long time. And the good news is you still get to indulge in many of your favourite Malaysian dishes!

In terms of exercise, there are free personalised mobile apps that can help discipline you to reach your health goals in your chosen period of time. HealthifyMe helps allocate the amount of calorie intake, water intake, walking distance, and amount of exercise you should get every day to achieve your goals in a safe and rational amount of time. You can even log what food you’ve eaten to estimate the amount of calories you’ve consumed daily to keep in line with your goals, which dispenses with the struggles of not knowing if you’re consuming too much or too little calories! Apps like Zombies, Run! simulate a zombie apocalypse to motivate you while running. Running can therefore be a fun physical game and not just a droning part of your daily routine. However, do give yourself a few days to relax and indulge in your cravings every once in a while to prevent burnout. Remember, it’s all about moderation!

#2. Breaking your smartphone addiction

 

This is arguably the most important resolution for many of us. Excessive screen time not only means we become less productive in general but it reduces the quality of our sleep and our happiness as well. Activities like ‘doom scrolling,’ which is where you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media sites in order to keep updated on people’s lives and all the worldly issues, may lead to increased feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

The first step is to identify the causes of that addiction. This means recognising what mobile apps you spend an ungodly amount of time on and which of those that especially affect your mood and your mental state. I personally find going on a social media cleanse once in a while to be very effective. If you find it hard to physically restrain yourself from going on the app, delete it for a few days! I promise you, you won’t miss out on anything. Doing this for at least 2-3 days monthly (you can do this on weekends if you’re concerned with work) can drastically improve the quality of your life. On one hand, it can combat feelings of loneliness and social isolation which has been proven to negatively impact your health. On the other hand, it allows you to take a break from the paraphernalia of social comparison, cyberbullying, and other phenomena detrimental to our mental wellbeing.

On other days, it can be helpful to use built-in smartphone tools that regulate the time you spend on your smartphone. For iPhone users, there’s an ‘App Limits’ setting to help you manage the time spent on an app in a day. Similarly, for Android users, you can turn on the 'Do Not Disturb' option and set the apps you wish to avoid using. For studying, apps like Forest help you stay focused on a task. To prevent resorting to your smartphone when you’re bored during online classes, finding a fidget activity might help. Fidget activities like crocheting, bubble pop fidgets, or stress-relief balls can keep your hands busy while keeping your mind focused. Moreover, finding or engaging in other hobbies can help ease the urge to use your smartphone when you’re bored. It could be reading, journaling, writing, drawing, painting, cooking, exercising, or anything that suits your interest. Feel free to get creative! Finding a new hobby may eventually reduce your smartphone usage and can additionally build new sources of talent, identity, or personality.

#3. Spend less, save more

 

Saving money might seem impossible for some of us shopaholics, especially in the age of online shopping where things can be magically delivered to our doorstep. However, there are several simple tips and tricks to combat this!

The first tip is to eat more home-cooked meals. This may seem rather trifling but the outcome can be pretty shocking. We might not realise it but as our days get busier with more and more work on our plate, we eat much more takeout than we realise. Even with cheap restaurant food, the accumulated cost of service taxes and delivery fees can significantly drive up prices. In contrast, a group of basic ingredients often comes in at a lower price tag than a single restaurant dish. In fact, you’ll even end up with more meals out of a recipe you make at home than if you order takeout, or have leftovers to eat the next day. You can start by learning easy recipes and preparing cooked meals to bring along with you as you go for classes. Who knows, you may even start delving into more complex recipes and even hold cookouts with your friends instead of hanging out at a restaurant! 

Another tip involves utilising digital budget planners. There are many free apps on offer that can help you save money efficiently. Some banks even have their own apps that can link your bank accounts to your budget plans. For instance, Maybank2u has an app called MAE which essentially helps you plan and keep track of your spending through its Expenses feature. It updates you on how much you spend on different types of goods in relation to your bank account. This means you don’t need to manually update your expenses which saves a lot of time! It also includes a feature called Tabung which you can use to set up financial goals or simply save up to purchase your favourite K-pop group merchandise. Apps like these can actively restrict your spending which can be really practical for those of us struggling to discipline ourselves!

#4. Learning something new

 

If you’ve been putting aside this resolution every year, there are numerous ways you can gain knowledge in just about anything by just spending from as little as 10 minutes to a couple hours a day!

If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language but can’t seem to find the time, give Duolingo a try! Not only is it free, it offers a wide range of world languages and its effective use of gamified learning makes it easy to latch on. It also motivates you to use it regularly. Most importantly, the way the app is structured allows you to progress at your own pace so you can use it according to your own schedule. Unlike other language learning apps, Duolingo provides clear audio examples from native speakers essential for learning comprehension and allows you to practise conversing in the language with their conversation bots to build your confidence to use it in a real-world setting.

Whether it’s delving into new skills you’ve never engaged in before or jumping back into old hobbies you’re a tad bit rusty in, Skillshare might just be your new best friend. It’s a platform that offers thousands of classes on various topics to help you develop skills for personal growth, especially in art and design, within a structure similar to an online course with much less financial commitment than other platforms. Similarly, other platforms like MasterClass are great as well, offering classes from celebrity and expert instructors on very niche topics. Ever dreamed of being a Michelin star chef? Even Gordon Ramsay has a MasterClass series on cooking!

However, if online courses are too taxing, there are smaller scale and more relaxed activities you can engage in to learn a few new facts every day. Listening to educational podcasts is one of the easiest ways to do so. You can listen while you’re on the go, doing mindless activities, eating, or whatever else that’s palatable for a multitasker. One podcast I find intriguing is Ologies by Alie Ward which is available on Spotify and Apple. From something as simple as biology to ologies I never knew existed like scorpiology (the study of scorpions) and desairology (the study and practice of mortuary makeup), you can learn about the most interesting and random things. Besides being great conversation starters, listening to various kinds of podcasts may pique your interest in something you never knew before. These podcasts usually run for an hour at most, which means less time commitment too!

With that being said, I hope these tangible tips will help you fruitfully reassess how you spend your time and give you a better sense of clarity regarding your goals. Most crucially, I hope these tips will lead to fundamental life changes that shape your future for the better. Just like Taylor Swift, we can all be feeling 22 in 2022!

Wan Izlyn Sofea is currently pursuing Cambridge A-Levels at Taylor's College. She is also a Taylor’s debater and the event director of Taylor’s College Student Council.

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